Why Thanksgiving is the Bestest Holiday Ever
In my book, Thanksgiving is always a great day because it combines several primal urges we are allowed to fully indulge in with one of the most beautiful human sentiments there is- appreciation.
But first, the primal joys. There’s eating! And then there’s- more eating! There’s sex, of course. NOT. So kidding. No one has ever had sex on Thanksgiving Day. OK, maybe in the morning but after noon, when the smells of the turkey are beginning to waft through the kitchen and then, of course, several hours later after having consumed the allowable mass quantities, the last thing anyone would ever want to do is have sex.
So instead of sex, there’s the third best thing in the world in November- NFL Football. There’s just something incredibly comforting about a house full of people chatting, cooking, nibbling, drinking and giggling while a couple of guys ignore them completely and take over the couch, not particularly caring about the outcome of the contest but bonded in their Thanksgiving maleness. If there is a female reading this who loves watching Thanksgiving football, may I apologize for the previous sexist remark, and possibly have your phone number?
Here are four specific food reasons why Thanksgiving is the cat’s pajamas.
I make the best mashed potatoes on the planet earth. You laugh? You chortle? Ask my son. Ask anyone who’s ever eaten them. They are so good they have made people cry. Their texture is perfect- not too lumpy, not too soft. After that, the ingredients and ratios cannot be divulged, but they involve perfect amounts of butter, heavy cream, olive oil and garlic salt.
Rolls with Butter
No doubt about it, Thanksgiving, to a large extent, is the butter holiday. And what better vehicle for consuming large dollops of butter, then warm rolls that have just emerged from the oven, ideally hot enough that when the butter touches the surface of the bread, there’s instant melting and fusing going on. And then when the rolls accidently rub up on the plate against the gravy that is smothering the succulent turkey meat, well, if I keep writing about this sort of thing I’m going to have to rush off to take a cold culinary shower.
The Crispy Turkey Skin
OK, I said it. I’ll admit it. I’m not proud about it, but it’s the truth and many of you out there may as well admit it too. Crispy turkey skin is insanely tasty. Never, ever leave me alone in a kitchen with a turkey that’s just come out of the oven. It’s happened a few times but I can’t get into the details because there may be children reading this.
There is a turkey skin moment that occurs on your way to oneness with the great meal- the traditional crunchy bites of certain parts of the wing. Ask any caveman. If they are being honest with you (and cavemen have a mixed record with honesty), they will tell you that crunchy, delectable moment is one of life’s greatest joys.
I once had a Thanksgiving Day dinner with some people, among them, a man who announced at the start of the meal, after the prayers but before the eating had started, that he loved wings and would be eating them all. I was incredulous. I looked around the table. I looked at the Turkey, confirming like most birds, there were only two such wings.
I was seething. The things I was saying in my head cannot be repeated, even in front of motorcycle gangs. And he did it too. He bogarted the turkey wings. What a selfish little man. I am the eater of the turkey wings. This is how it is. It is lore. Who did he think he was? I felt very bad that he passed away before the next Thanksgiving and that I had such mean, mean thoughts about him that day. It still comes up in counseling.
The Appreciation Part
And as for the gratefulness factor of Thanksgiving- selfish wing-eaters aside, I do love the moment of unity before the meal- in fact, the whole notion of sharing a bounty that we are blessed and fortunate to receive. It’s not a cornball thing. It is always a touching, beautiful thing when we create a moment to really appreciate what we have.
When we close our eyes tightly and all the misery in this world kind of washes over you and gradually fades away into the now and that now is sitting around a table with friends and family. The wolves may be howling, but they howl outside, while protected, we eat our meal in a warm place and love one another for just a little while.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. May yours be peaceful, bountiful and succulent.